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San Francisco 13, Us 8, Lafayette 3, Wiener 3, Sarah Bowen 2, The City 2, San Franciscans 2, California 2, Scott Wiener 1, Terrence Faulkner 1, Dr. Antonini 1, Shannon Gallagher 1, Daises 1, Kwok 1, Dianne Feinstein 1, Bet 1, Cpmc Halliburton 1, Theythv 1, Ms. Bowen 1, Eric Brooks 1,
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  SFGTV    [untitled]  

    December 1, 2012
    12:30 - 1:00am PST  

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first, the elimination of appeal by right to the board of supervisors for the c-e-q-a determination is crucially important ask it happens when any sort of determination or agency action is required by the board of supervisors on that project anyway * r. and that's described in subheading 8 of our memo. and what it actually does is it eliminates significant dialogue between the planning commission, the planning department, and community members and ultimately silences this planning commission's voice. ordinarily, the planning commission would accept public comment on a draft e-i-r. the planning department would then respond to that, and the response would be received by this planning commission. under these amendments, the planning commission would not receive the planning department's response. the department's response would go directly to the board of supervisors and the board of supervisors would be able to make that decision about the c-e-q-a determination. and it would do so not necessarily as
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a full board. it's very possible, and in fact likely, that a subcommittee of the board would be making the hearing -- the public hearing and the c-e-q-a determination. furthermore, there is no requirement under these amendments that the planning department would be engaged in that process. so, the clarifications here are inadequate. second, the change allows more projects to receive minimal review under negative declaration. we've heard so much, based upon the standard of fair argument versus substantial evidence. as you've heard multi38 times, there is a good question as to whether this is legal under california state law based upon 30 years of c-e-q-a history here. and finally, the changes are requiring an approval action before anyone can make a c-e-q-a appeal is ultimately going to inhibit the ability of community members to make contact with this board and with decision-makers about particular projects. and it does so in an ambiguous way.
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it's unclear what the first approval -- approval action is and who is going to be making that approval action. accordingly, these changes overall mean less informed discussion of environmental impacts and increase the probability that the board of supervisors will be forced to make a decision about a project that has been less carefully scrutinized and without the independent judgment of this planning commission. accordingly, we recommend a rejection to the board of supervisors. thank you. >> thank you. good afternoon, commissioners. my name is shannon gallagher, and i received notice of this hearing today and this issue being aired through the newspaper. when i read that i had single handedly stopped the project at lafayette park using c-e-q-a, i actually aired my complaints when the city began
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construction as the park with no building permits. and i aired those complaints down the hall with the people who handle building permits. they really didn't have much to do with c-e-q-a at all. but it does raise the question about should a person be allowed to say something if they think something is wrong and what should the notice process be. and, in fact, c-e-q-a is not designed so that the state provides notice to people. it's specifically that the enforcement of c-e-q-a as well as the notification would be handled locally. and what we have here is an effort to change things such that it would be very hard on people to know what's happening. another issue that has come up several times is the raised level of proof to substantial evidence. i can say that with the short time frame and given the number of exemptions to the sunshine ordinance such that if you ask for voluminous documents, which means anything over 50 pages, you no longer have the right to have your documents returned to you in 24 hours.
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you can have a three or four-week turn around time. if you were to ask for a copy of building plans from the department of building or go to the planning department, you will be told to come back in three to four weeks. you will have no evidence whatsoever by the time your time is up in order for you to appeal. i also want to point out a couple things about timeline. from within your own department. if you take a look, this is all related to lafayette park because i'm actually just someone who lives by that park. in here, in june of 2011, the general plan referral was being worked on and scott was asking questions. now, several months pass and had it's now november. [speaker not understood] who did the historic resource evaluation, something covered under c-e-q-a, she's asking for more information -- oh, we're not getting document feed. okay, thank you. the first document i was showing was here in june. this is where the first under,
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as i understand this proposal from supervisor wiener, here you would have your referral to the general plan order. so, this would be a discretionary decision and therefore it would be a triggering point under this proposal. now we're getting to where [speaker not understood] who did the historic evaluation in connection with this project is looking into this in november. and she is pointing out that she actually needs additional information in order to -- for her with all the resources at her hands to do something. here we have the air quality report. this is again in november. and if you look what he's saying here, the proposed project described only in a concept plan of no date and a written project proposal of no date is what he's having to base his, his review on. he is on the inside. this is a concept plan that was being looked at. this is the level of detail. and when you consider that in october of 2011, october 11, 28, these were the plans submitted initially to the city. if you go back and see here, i
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brought you the version that's got all the lines crossed out. ultimately when this permit did issue after one person created the problem, it was almost a year later and it was radically changed. >> your time is up, i'm afraid. it is very interesting. next speaker, please. my name is [speaker not understood] and i'm a member of the sierra club. i believe we need more community involvement in the shaping of our city, not less. this legislation makes a complicated process even more difficult for the average citizen by limiting the time frame for commenting and appeals. it also replace he the current legal standard of fair argument with substantial evidence. by doing so it cripple $the democratic process. forces groups or individuals to hire lawyers, scientists or consultants making it so we have no voice unless we have
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large sums of money to effectively pay someone to speak for them. this is wrong and this legislation needs to be thrown out. thank you. * hi, my name is terrence faulkner. [speaker not understood] for many years, 1974. i've had a chance to see a lot of local politics. supervisor dianne feinstein when she was a supervisor more than 34 years ago frequently used to joke and she said this both to the press and on the floor of the board, if the developers and if the lobbyists had their way, we'd have an overhead sewer line running down market street. that's about it. there are many lobbying interests. there's many developer interests who will try to do anything they possibly can. many of these developer groups
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have good intentions, some of them do not. some of them frankly are fairly ruthless. the more chance you have for the public to object, the better. due process is the issue. it's the way you work it. [speaker not understood] san francisco beautiful, and i remember her lecturing myself and [speaker not understood] reporter andy golen. you have to hammer on these things. watch it very carefully. watch every filing because they're always going to try to slip things by. i mean, that's the truth. that's the way it's done. supervisor scott wiener is a good lawyer. in fact, a first class lawyer in many ways. when it comes to slipping things through. [laughter] about a year and a little bit more than that ago, he had two little ones, the ethics commission and one to give the board of supervisors the right to throw a public initiatives out the window after three years.
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i heard about it to fast enough to get an objection in on both daises. they both went down like the titanic. he is a good lawyer, but he has a way of being, shall we say, too kind to lobbyists and too kind to developers. sometimes you have to be hard and you have to be rough with theythv. sometimes you have to know when to say no. * them this is a case where you should say no. people have a right to due process, but people have a right to know what's coming down. the history of san francisco in the area of development has been very negative over the years. our western addition and its victorian housing got wiped out, or nearly wiped out. we've had many horrible abortions in the area of redevelopment. this is one of the most important things you're going to vote on for a long time. think about it very carefully before you do. i mean, these are the rights of the people of san francisco.
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this is their right to due process. this is the guts of democracy at work. i strongly urge you, vote no on this or modify it greatly. thank you very much. good afternoon, my name is [speaker not understood], chair of the coalition for san francisco neighborhoods. i've got to warn you. i think i saw some tea party republicans down the hall. they want to gut c-e-q-a and -- well, i said tea party. [laughter] i said tea party republicans. not you, dr. antonini. i think this will cut off debate, cut off their ability to appeal. no matter how much supervisor wiener and the department says,
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oh, no, this is to streamline, to make it more predictable, to cut down costs, and that it will do. it would make it more predictable. things will go through, no appeals. it will cut down costs because, well, no appeals. and the time frame would be shortened. and some of these projects that were mentioned, the bike grant for example, that was delayed because the department didn't do an e-i-r. give me a break. and the housing element of 2004, again, no e-i-r. it was a negative declaration. the department really has to be watched. san francisco is only 47 square miles and we need the strongest c-e-q-a laws that could be in existence.
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we can't lower it to the state level. this is crucial. we live in a dense area and here people are just trying to cut back public debate, public opportunities for appeal. it's almost as though the lobbyists were allowed to write this. you heard some of the developers here -- one developer. you know, for them it's great. for the rest of us, terrible, unbelievable. supervisor peskin says he can't understand what the problem is. he says tens of thousands of c-e-q-a determinations are being made every year and only a couple dozens are appealed. that's a small price to pay to try to save our environment, our quality of life. it's far more important than
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developers or speculators getting their profits. thank you. good afternoon. my name is genie kwok. the proposed changes to san francisco's c-e-q-a procedures have many problems such as incomprehensible appeals deadlines and a five-acre exemption [speaker not understood]. it is on a 20-acre campus. the focus of my talking to you today would be to ask you to please protect the people's input and not allow the proposed changes that decrease opportunities for san franciscans to provide input and influence on projects prior to construction. the proposed shortened time period for appeals and in put
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provide insufficient time for neighbors to help each other think through the issues and regulations and respond accordingly. while complicated, san franciscans are willing to study the issues and want to provide input. such citizen participation takes time and should be encouraged. i have a picture here and i'm sorry it's small, but i think your machine can make it look bigger. thank you so much. this is to me an example of insufficient citizen input. pictured here are 17 monstrous black baseball field poles in my neighborhood. the 17 poles are 70 feet tall, 16 inches in diameter, and stretch between the poles are black nets partially blocking sky and sky land and line. i endorsed the need to prevent base balls from hitting people, home windows and cars. but after many years of looking at the tall poles in many parts
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of the bay area, california, and this wonderful democratic united states of america, i think they are unnecessarily wide. to my knowledge, there was insufficient opportunity for residents to have input on the placement of these monstrous poles. so, please recommend to the board of supervisors that the san francisco planning commission disapproves this proposed legislation. i have my remarks in letter form. may i please give it to you? thank you. >> thank you. good afternoon. my name is dr. espinola jackson and i'm here representing the black leadership rights of san francisco. i'd like to say i'm requesting that you reject wiener's project. you know, four of you i know,
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and we came here before this body many times talking about bayview hunters point and the shipyard. but because of politics, developments, you didn't listen. three of you listened and voted with us. the rest voted against us and we had to file an appeal because of c-e-q-a. and guess what? we won. because the job wasn't done the way it was supposed to be done. even now a supervisor can come before you and support an issue like in my community, and you know what you did? you rezoned because it what slated rezoning 44 53rd street, you without even know when you came about rezoning for a wellness center, you was
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rezoning 17 other blocks and the politics in that, you know what it is? it's a group -- and i can't think of the name of the hospital -- that wants to come into bayview hunters point on those 17 blocks because you u.c. is in the mission -- what's that missionary there? mission bay, that's it, thank you. you see, you all shouldn't be, not knowingly, when the community comes before you they are giving you the truth. when these supervisors and these developers come before you, they are not. so, i'm asking you, please, because i've got 57 more seconds, to throw this thing out and sit down with the people, those of us that are taxpayers and been taxpayers and homeowners, and listen to those of us that care, really
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care about san francisco. even the next two years there will not be no development over there at the shipyard because it is toxic, too toxic for anything to happen. so, please listen to what the residents are saying because we love san francisco. i've been a resident for 69 years. so, don't take it away from me. how are you doing, sweetheart? it's good to see you. [laughter] >> she was talking to you. (applause) >> yes. good evening, commissioners. eric brooks here representing san francisco green party and the local grassroots organization our city. so, first i want to just repeat and pick up where sister jackson left off, sister and dr. jackson, i hope that's adequate. that, you know, if you're going to write legislation to change
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c-e-q-a, you need to get the public and the people that are being affected by the changes you're making in c-e-q-a access at the table first before you write the legislation. the last two planning commission hearings, we had stakeholder meetings down in the basement each time. over 20 different people from several different groups from all across the spectrum. none of us were contacted before this legislation was drafted, zero. that is just an unacceptable public process. so, this -- and now i want to get to something, a detail that no one's raised yet, and that is that the proponents of this and staffers saying, well, this cod identifies a -- codifies a lot of things that staff is already doing, puts it into law. those of us who have been fighting bad projects for decades now would say to you that we do not want those
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practices codified because every year our access to this process gets worse because of those ad hoc procedures. * so, do we think c-e-q-a process should be improved? you bet. though it needs to be improved next year after the state made its determinations and after every single group that's being affected by this is brought to the table to help design the legislation so that it helps everybody in the city, not just developers and those that they want to influence for elected office. and i want to end with just getting to the basic -- the basic meta point here. you've gotten lots of documents and you've heard lots of comments about the specific problems with this legislation and they are myriad. this thing is a mine field of attacks on public process. but i don't want to get into that. i want to get into the fact that the primary reason for this legislation that's being
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brought up is actually just structurally doesn't make logical sense and it's not good for process. and this is the idea that one agency can trigger c-e-q-a at the very beginning with one approval like a site approval. with all -- with many different approvals of projects that have come before you. the project at the beginning can be one thing and at the end of the process can have changed dramatically. i think treasure island got its first approval in 2006. cpmc halliburton gotten an approval of some time for st. lukes that would preclude us from c-e-q-a if this were law? * possibly. we need time to duke this out with the developers over months and years with them knowing the threat of a c-e-q-a challenge -- >> thank you. your time is up. -- don't go beyond environmental law in the first place. >> thank you. your time is up. thank you very much. i'll call a couple other names.
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kathrin howard and ms. bowen, sarah bowen. is that right? good afternoon, commissioners. you called and i am here. kathrin howard, golden gayedv preservation alliance. i want to support the concerns about the c-e-q-a legislation already stated. generally the amendments decrease the opportunities for individuals and community groups with serious vieerthval concerns to provide input and assert influence on development projects as part of the c-e-q-a process. for example, the legislation allows any city department to very prematurely and quietly start the clock on environment review appeals by concurrently making a first minor approval of one aspect of the project while also declaring it from exempt from environmental review with only a casual final by planning staff. we are very concerned about the
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impact that this litigation will have on our parks and open space. there is no reason to quickly develop a park unless a certain department which shall remain nameless at this time wants to put it on a fast track to commercialization and privatization. the city departments and developers hold most of the cards for development decisions. the public is always facing a david versus goliath battle over all land use decisions. and to keep on with my metaphors, that is one reason c-e-q-a was created to help create a more level playing field. this legislation is trying to tilt the field towards inappropriate development even more. this is such important legislation, this chamber should be packed. the halls should be packed. why aren't there more people here? because people don't know about it or they don't understand it. more time and deliberations are needed. alternative are needed.
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and we need a process that is inclusive of everyone. and i just want to take a minute to say that in my mind, [speaker not understood] are the people who love the cities, they love their neighborhoods and they are what has made san francisco the wonderful place it is. when you look at all the wonderful things people like about this city, the environmental protection, save the bay, the cable cars, our parks, and all those things, those are all done by nimby. that's what they would be accused of. and i am tired of hearing this criticism. i'm a nimby and i'm proud of it. amen. (applause) >> if there are any additional speakers, if you would like to line up on that side of the room, that would be great. euronext. commissioners, sail bloom. i suspect i'm the sarah bowen. for those who know it, that's one of the nicer things i've been called lately. we're here to speak in opposition to the legislation.
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this is a reflection of the acknowledge our attorneys here from the hastings school and thank them for their presentation for our concern with citizens for a sustainable treasure island. [speaker not understood] reflective of a negative trend in san francisco's commitment to civic engagement we've been experiencing over the last couple of years. undoubtedly c-e-q-a can be approved. there is no question about that. but this is not the way to do it and we used to know how to do this in a more engaging, a more empowering and a more responsible way. * the speaker mentioned earlier that c-e-q-a was an artifact of the '70s and therefore obsolete and should be done away with. but the fact of the matter is so was superfund, the clean water act, clean air act, [speaker not understood] conservation recovery act, many of the environmental laws are all artifacts of the '70s. the trend is to increase the
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requirements of these legislations, those to decrease and amend these legislations so they give more opportunity to pollute, more opportunity to fail to engage the public in issues that affect our health, our wealth, and our well-being. another speaker asked, who appealed the treasure island environmental impact report? well, my group, citizens for a sustainable treasure island did. and there was the comment about the radiation issue. but there are many, many other issues that were associated with that environmental impact report that actually forced us to litigate. and we are and we're on that environmental impact report right now, several of which items are being asked to be codified through this resolution. * we are in court right now in 30 years we have brought precisely two lawsuits under c-e-q-a, about 25 years apart.
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the last one being the treasure island lawsuit. i fear that what this legislation does is what makes us more likely and will force our hand with regard to the litigation option because it takes away many of the protections that we appreciate and enables us to negotiate better outcomes, has enabled us to negotiate better outcomes for all of those years we found other ways to address our concerns with the c-e-q-a process. thank you very much, commissioners. have a good day. hello. sorry, i got laryngitis. i hope you put up with me. my name is patricia love lock and i'm one of the folks who have helped ms. gallagher with her appeal at lafayette park with infamous people that are actually behind the one person who happened to sign the
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appeal. but there were many others, including pacific heights residents association who have understood that these issues were much more, they were led to believe by rec and park. the whole reason this came about, one of the reasons, i had gone to their meetings and i was trying to be an informed citizen about what was going on. and it frightens me to think that now you want to take away the tiny, tiny bit of notice that people get around some of these things that are happening. at the hearing, at the meetings, we weren't told anything about a categorical exemption. we weren't told anything about historic resource. and, in fact, when i asked the question about tree cuttings, we weren't even told about that. i only was able to find out about how many trees were to be cut at a public park the week that they were starting the work. and i was persistent because i watch the birds up there. and it was orctionv after --
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only after that that we started getting very concerned. over 500 people signed a petition being concerned about what was going on. this was supposedly after everybody had maybe received some notice. i was on the list to receive notice and i never received notice about a categorical exemption. additionally, we tried to get information from people. i put in calls to mr. wyco and i was told he was on vacation for three weeks. that would have been my 20 days to put in an appeal. i tried reaching i don't know how many folks to get information about what was going on and why things were happening the way they were. well, we couldn't get anybody. we were told over and over, you cannot put in an appeal on the c-e-q-a at this time. mind you, they had not gotten any of their building permits yet because they had actually

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